The Second Guy

It’s not the guy with the crazy idea you have to watch out for, it’s the second guy.

Take drinking.  Alcohol as an intoxicant is about as old as agriculture.  Rumor has it that beer was the first alcoholic beverage, created by the fermentation of grain.  Fermentation is part a very scientific process also known as rotting.  The first beer was invented by accident, when someone left a hole in the roof of their grain storage.  The rain got in, rotted the grain, trickled through the rotted grain and formed a pool on the ground.  Someone decided to drink this beige grain-water runoff and became relaxed, if a bit dizzy.

Smoking came about in a similar fashion.  Someone took some leaves they found in Virginia, curled them up into a cylinder, set fire to one end, and started sucking the smoke through the other.  No one knows why he did this.  Perhaps there was a nearby brush fire that made the village relaxed after a hard day of whatever Native Virginian villagers did during the day, and one villager got really jittery the next morning, put two and two together, and started setting things on fire until he found something that soothed him.

Here’s the thing, though.  I don’t worry about these two guys.  Well, I worry about the arsonist, but that’s beside the point.  Both of these stories would end quickly if it weren’t for The Second Guy.  The Second Guy is a much scarier figure.  The enabler.  The one who lets the genie out of the bottle. Continue reading